Environmental activists will protest outside a Washington, D.C. hearing Monday on the Obama administration’s latest offshore drilling 5-year plan. One activist is even dressing up as Frostpaw the dancing polar bear to highlight how global warming is shrinking the Arctic.
Environmentalists are particularly angry with the Obama administration’s proposal to have one offshore drilling lease sale in the Mid-Atlantic along with three off the coast of Alaska. This is the first time President Obama has proposed opening the Atlantic to drilling since before the BP Gulf Coast oil spill in 2010.
Activists are angry with the administration for potentially holding lease sales in the Atlantic, though many eco-activists were happy to see huge areas of the Arctic made off-limits to drilling.
So how will environmentalists oppose Obama’s proposed offshore drilling plan? By protesting outside the D.C. offices of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. But that’s not all, protesters will be joined by Frostpaw the polar bear, who will rage dance over the proposed leases.
“Putting our oceans up for sale to oil companies is not the path toward solving the climate crisis. We’re telling Obama to take his own advice on climate change and stop expanding dirty fossil fuels in our oceans,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity — the group that invented Frostpaw the dancing polar bear.
Frostpaw is intended to illustrate the animal life that will be threatened by drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic. The Center for Biological Diversity says “[r]amping up offshore drilling raises the risk of disastrous spills, puts wildlife in harm’s way, and deepens U.S. dependence on the fossil fuels driving the global climate crisis.”
There’s just one problem: there’s no evidence of polar bears ever being killed by oil and natural gas drilling, despite billions of barrels of oil being produced in the Arctic region. Not to mention the fact that no polar bears live in the Mid-Atlantic region, except maybe in zoos.
“I have heard of no such deaths on record,” Dag Vongraven, chair of the Polar Bear Specialist Group, told The Daily Caller News Foundation last fall. “I have checked quickly with senior members of the PBSG, and they all concur. None know of any such deaths confirmed.”
“The risk remains but there is no knowledge of any spills that have been confirmed to influence bears at present,” Vongraven told TheDCNF.
Current estimates put the global polar bear population between 20,000 and 25,000 bears, living in the Arctic regions of the world. But even those estimates likely undercount the true polar bear population.
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